(Some strange goings-on in Stratford) – Stratford residents’ comments that led to city hall ban were ‘innocuous,’ lawyer says: May 9, 2024 CBC article

A May 9, 2024 CBC article is entitled: “Stratford residents’ comments that led to city hall ban were ‘innocuous,’ lawyer says: City’s mayor says a safe environment is a shared responsibility and threats against it need to be addressed.”

An excerpt reads:

At a Feb. 26 city council meeting, Sullivan asked council to make meetings more transparent, commented on the city budget and alleged the city clerk had “quietly changed” the process for the public to submit delegations.

During the meeting, Sullivan also pointed to an independent investigation, which found one-third of council’s votes were held in-camera (sessions that are closed to the public). In Ontario, in-camera votes are only allowed in certain situations, including procedural matters or to give staff directions, according to the province’s ombudsman


I became interested in this story when I heard a May 9, 2024 CBC Metro Morning interview between David Common, host of Metro Morning, and Mike Sullivan, a Stratford resident.

With regard to this story, I’m reminded of goings on at two school boards where I worked for many years; the following post offers some hints of the power dynamics which may be at play in certain kinds of situations:

Peel District School Board pursues legal action against Black advocacy groups; legal action dropped; education director no longer with board

The Toronto District School Board has also had some interesting moments, with regard to how it runs its show. For school boards, the province can step in when things need to be straightened out. In the current state oif affairs regarding how the City of Stratford governs itself, our only hope is independent journalism – such as provided by the CBC.

Some previous posts about the TDSB include:

Conclusion from the Jan. 15, 2015 Review of the Toronto District School Board worth a close read

Fix board or be broken up, Toronto trustees, staff warned – Dec. 4, 2015 Toronto Star article

I was also interested, while on the topic of decision making in Ontario, to come across a May 10. 2024 CBC article entitled: “Former Ford staffer cuts ties with town after lobbying plan used to ‘embarrass’ government.”

An excerpt reads:

At a Monday, May 6, meeting of Brighton council, city staff recommended retaining Atlas Strategic Advisors to push its expensive wastewater upgrade project.

The town was applying for funding through a provincial grant pool worth a total of $825 million. Staff suggested that with “many municipalities applying” for the funding, it had to make “extensive” efforts to ensure it secured its share.

Bureaucrats recommended hiring Atlas, which is run by a former Ford government staffer, Amin Massoudi. Among other credentials, Massoudi served as Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s principal secretary from June 2019 to August 2022 and as deputy chief of staff for a year before that.

The company’s website describes Massoudi as “at the epicentre of Ontario’s political landscape,” referencing his work for Ford and former Toronto mayor John Tory.

A related fun topic here is the language that power (sometimes) speaks, whereby up is down, in is out, and big is small. George Orwell speaks cogently and with eloquence regarding this topic.

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